MLS All Star Update

Here are some scattered business thoughts on the MLS All Star Hub and other items from Major League Soccer’s descent on New York.  The Hub itself is set in a swanky SoHo building decorated with a clubby feel.  Most of the league sponsors are represented through various  themed booths in the Hub that offer an array of interactive events.  There is foosball, video games, a pub and more.  There are also retail sales, product demonstrations and a large number of staff attirred in gear branded with the logos and marks of the league sponsors.

Unfortunately, the Hub wasn’t particularly well attended by the public.  While some folks did wander in and out on their lunch break, most of the exhibits were lightly used.  Because the Hub also serves as the media credentialing center, there were plenty of journalists wandering around as well as MLS Staff.  There was a fair amount of advertising for the All Star Game and Hub in the surrounding neighborhood, including at the nearby Sheraton. The moment that generated the most excitement was the arrival of the MLS team bus, specificall, the arrival of David Beckham.  Attached to the HUB was space reserved for a press conference given by both teams.

As part of the week’s festivities, MLS All-Stars and executives, Manchester United executives and Sir Bobby Charlton will join forces with representatives of various other organizations to construct the Splash House Pavilion in New York.  According to the league press release,  volunteers will spend the day painting, cleaning and raising the pavilion while academy coaches from the New York Red Bulls and the Claudio Reyna Foundation conduct a clinic for approximately 100 local children.

There was a also a penalty kick event in Herald Square, a reception hosted by the Mayor and a training session by the MLS All-Stars.  The MLS All-Star team and hundreds of fans in New York City now hold the world record for the most penalty kicks taken.

Soccer Business Bits: Wall Street Journal Weighs In, Welcome Back Wynalda

mlsWith the Summer of Soccer in full swing, the Wall Street Journal is the latest mainstream publication to provide coverage of the Beautiful Game’s recent burst of  popularity.  The article discusses the Confederations Cup run, the big crowds watching soccer live this summer and of course the youth participation rate.  The article also includes quotes from Don Garber and Sepp Blatter, discusses the attendance in Seattle and the World Football Challenge.  The piece also looks at an issue we devote much of our time discussing, the question of how to capture American soccer fans and make them MLS fans.  Though breaking no new ground, it is important for American soccer and MLS to appear in such a publication, and the article certainly gives American soccer and MLS a fair shake.

Elsewhere, former US International and ESPN broadcaster Eric Wynalda has resurfaced as Nick Webster’s new co-host on Fox Football Fone-In.  Former host Steven Cohen got into trouble last season after making controversial remarks about Liverpool’s past Hillsborough tragedy.  Wynalda is no stranger to controversy, and his presence will provide a knowledgeable and familiar American voice to a show that has long been EPL-centric.   The show is set to debut on August 10.

Finally, it is All-Star time in MLS.  Kudos the Galaxy for promoting a viewing party at a Pasadena bar.  The event will include Galaxy players, free admission and more.  Another interesting All-Star business note:  Adidas is outfitting 3 MLS All-Stars with unique cleats for the big game.  Montero, Casey and Holden will wear signature one of a kind boots for the match.  Fans are also offered the opportunity through adidas to personalize their own cleats.  Click here for more.

Soccer Business Bits: Deals, Deals and More Deals

crew-jerseyAs we do every few weeks, it is time again to take a look around MLS for ticket offers and bargains.  The Columbus Crew are offering the “July Mini Ball Pack“.   Starting at $19 per ticket, the package includes a mini-ball per ticket.  The package requires the purchase of 4 tickets and 4 balls.

Not surprisingly, the Red Bulls are promoting David Beckham’s trip to Giants Stadium this week.  The nationally televised game on FSC is being paired with the Gold Cup Final as part of a “Combo Pack“.   Sideline tickets are being combined for $80 with lesser seats for $55.   For the Beckham game alone, the Red Bulls are also offering the same tickets for $220 (for 4) and $180 (for 4).  These packages also include a $20 food and beverage credit.

Speaking of Mr. Beckham, the Galaxy are also pushing a “Beckham’s Back” effort for the AC Milan/Galaxy game next week.  After promoting the game through a number of different combo deals, the Galaxy are now selling the tickets on a stand alone basis. Standing room seats are selling for $50.

The Chicago Fire, are pimping an array of packages for the rest of the season.  These include a “4-4-4″ that includes four tickets, four drinks and four hot dogs for $79.  Other Fire offers include 3 game packs, 5 game packs and a 20 game flex pack.  Finally (and somewhat surprisingly), RSL is still offering discounts for the upcoming All Star Game.  These include $35 vouchers obtainable through local KFC locations.   The link for stand alone All Star tickets on the RSL website is currently down.rsl